Throughout WWII Hitler tried to destroy the morale of the British people by blitzing London and major British cities around the United Kingdom. He did so in the hope that Great Britain would capitulate through the fierce fire storms, death and destruction dropped from above. He failed, and he failed miserably. It made the British stand stronger, and bond closer together. Below: 1996. Manchester city centre, aftermath of an IRA 1000 Ib bombIn the 70′s, 80′s & 90′s, Irish terrorists brought their indiscriminate bombing campaign to mainland Britain; they took many innocent lives, and destroyed many more, as well as severely damaged property and infrastructure. They failed miserably in their effort to make the British public cower, they only succeeded in strengthening their resolve. The cowardly terrorists had obviously learned nothing from their history lessons at school. This was proven more so when they left a large remote IED, packed heavily with ‘dockyard confetti’ at Horse guards parade in London on the 20th July 1982. Several minutes after the blastHidden in a blue Austin car parked on South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park, the IED was detonated remotely, as Queen Elizabeth II’s official bodyguard regiment, the Household Cavalry rode past it during the Changing of the Guard procession from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace. Three soldiers of the Blues & Royals were killed instantly, another died three days later from his injuries. The other soldiers in the procession were all badly wounded as shrapnel and nails sprayed them as well as the crowd of tourists assembled to watch the parade, causing further injuries. Seven of the regiment’s horses were also killed or had to be euthanised because of their injuries.Among the horses that were seriously wounded and peppered with shrapnel was one that stood out more than any other. Sefton, a strong but gentle black gelding. Sefton’s injuries were serious. They included a severed jugular vein, wounded right eye and 34 wounds covering his body. Sergeant Michael Pedersen, who was riding him, noted that Sefton responded so competently that when the bomb exploded there was no chance of him being thrown off. But Sgt Pedersen, who, in full state uniform and in severe shock, could do little to help Sefton. Another Trooper, one of many who had run down from the barracks after hearing the huge explosion, took off his shirt and used it to apply pressure to Sefton’s severe neck wound to staunch the blood flowing from it.
Sefton went through eight hours of surgery. Each of his 34 wounds were potentially life-threatening, in some cases shrapnel had to be taken out of his bones. Veterinary surgeons gave him a 50/50 chance of surviving the shock and extreme blood loss. Yet over the coming months he made good progress .
During his time in the veterinary hospital he received thousands of cards (and mints) from the public. Donations amounting to almost £620,000 (over £ One Million today) were collected to build a new surgical wing at the Royal Veterinary College, which was named the Sefton Surgical Wing. In August 1984 he retired from the Household Cavalry, and moved to the Home of Rest For Horses in Speen, Buckinghamshire, where he lived until the age of 30. He finally had to be put to sleep on the 9th of July 1993, due to lameness, a complication of the injuries he suffered during the bombing. When the horse died Michael Pedersen was left in floods of tears and uttered the immortal line: “St Peter won’t need to open the pearly gates, because old Sefton will fly over them.” Sgt Pederson & Sefton on duty Sefton has once again been remembered, as Princess Anne is due to unveil a life-sized statue of him. The horse that symbolised hope after 1982 IRA Hyde Park bomb attack Born in Ireland, Sefton joined the Army in 1967. He was 16 hands high and spent the early years of his army career as a school horse, teaching new recruits to ride. In 1975, despite having socks and a blaze, he found his way into the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, which normally recruited only totally black horses. The Household Cavalry chartered and recorded that he was a horse of great courage and character. Household Cavalry tradition dictates that horses’ names are re-used, which ensures that Sefton’s memory will always be honoured. A monument to the atrocity was erected on the spot where the bomb went off in Hyde Park.
Each day, on the Changing of the Guard procession from their barracks in Knightsbridge to Buckingham Palace, the mounted guard honours it with an eyes left, and a salute with drawn swords. Click to enlarge
We will never be beaten by extremists & terrorists, they may claim short victories over their cowardly attacks, after which they slither away to hide under slime covered rocks. But we will never leave any rock unturned in finding them, and bringing them to justice. Yours Aye.